Memorial to the First Chief Rabbi of Israel, founder of Religious Zionism
August 18, 2015 - gimmel Elul, marks the 80th yahrzeit of Rabbi (Rav) Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook zt"l, the first Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, often called Hare'ayah Kook, an acronym of his name.
Rav Kook was a leader who stood up to the British Parliament in support of the Balfour Declaration when he found himself stranded there at the outbreak of WWI, lived in Jaffa (Yaffo) which was the seat of secular Zionism so as to be the voice of Torah there and only later moved to Jerusalem at the request of its noted rabbis where he established and headed the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva and agreed reluctantly to become Chief Rabbi of the Holy City..
Rabbi Kook was an outstanding Torah luminary and decisor, but at the same time a prolific poet, mystic, philosopher and intrepid leader, founder of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel which he saw as the spiritual leadership of the state-to-be. He is considered the founder of Religious Zionism.
Following is a poem of Rav Kook entitled "Im Tirzeh Ben Adam" with an English translation and a UTube video featuring a beautiful musical interpretation of this poem in Hebrew
אם תרצה בן אדם"
הסתכל באור השכינה
התבונן בפלאי היצירה
בחיי האלוקות שלהם
דע את המציאות
שאתה חי בה
דע את עצמך
עלה למעלה עלה
כי כוח עז לך
יש לך כנפי רוח
כנפי נשרים אבירים
אל תכחש בם
פן יכחשו לך
ויימצאו לך מיד
- הרב קוק
If you desire to, human being, look at the light of God’s Presence
Gaze at the wonders of creation, at their Divine life.
Know the reality in which you live.
Know yourself and your world.
Rise up, for you have the strength to do so.
You have wings of the spirit, wings of powerful eagles.
Do not deny them, or they will deny you.
Seek them, and you will find them in a flash.
Orot Hakodesh I, pp. 83-84